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Agriculture & Environment

Uganda launches its first meeting to kick off the “Unlocking Resilient Benefits from African Water Resources” project

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Story highlights

  • Makerere University convened its first high level meeting virtually to introduce Uganda’s participation in the international project “Unlocking Resilient Benefits from African Water Resources”.
  • The project is funded by UKRI GCRF through the ARUA Water Centre of Excellence at Rhodes University, South Africa, and it involves six nodes in Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Nigeria, South Africa as well as UK partners.
  • The Ugandan node will look at the sources, pathways and impact of pollution in urban water.
  • While the meeting was well represented by top academics from Makerere University and formal water institutions at different levels of government, the node is in the process of revisiting its approach to engaging a wide range of stakeholders including local residents, civil society, non-governmental organisations and private business, government ministries, local governments, water management agencies  and
  • By bringing together a wide array of knowledges from Uganda, and in partnership with African countries and the UK, the project aims to shift water development practice towards greater equity and sustainability.

Makerere University has committed to continue the momentum on the international project “Unlocking Resilient Benefits from African Water Resources” (known as RESBEN). The project involves six nodes in Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Nigeria, South Africa as well as UK partners. It is funded by UKRI through the ARUA Water Centre of Excellence at Rhodes University, South Africa. The super goal of this project is to produce knowledge that shift water development practice towards greater equity and sustainability.

After a lot of background work dealing with administrative hoops presented by international grants, COVID challenges and cross-country logistics, Uganda convened the first RESBEN country meeting on Feb 5, 2021.

Uganda brought together 17 stakeholders from a mix of backgrounds from formal water institutions including the Ministry of Water and Environment and the National Water and Sewerage Corporation, Kampala Capital City Authority as well as top academics from the Universities of Makerere, Rhodes (South Africa, SA), Sheffield and Lancaster (UK).

Prof. Noble Banadda, node lead for Uganda and OR Tambo Research Chair and Chair of the Department of Agricultural and BioSystems Engineering at Makerere University, opened the session and welcomed participants. After participants’ short introduction, Professor Tally Palmer, Principal Investigator of RESBEN, gave a project overview and explained the Adaptive Systemic Approach that underpins RESBEN. This approach considers the close interconnection of complex social and ecological systems. In attending to complexity, Prof Palmer stressed the importance of linking social sciences with natural sciences as well as the equal representation of diverse stakeholders at the discussion table.

The opening was followed by Prof Banadda’s presentation of the background to project in Uganda. In particular, he explained the Ugandan node will look to understand the sources, pathways and impact of pollution in urban water and will compare findings with other urban water research nodes in Lagos (Nigeria) and Cape Town (SA)

MA students recruited as research assistants will play an important role in shedding light on the backbone of pathways of water pollution. Sandra Mutesi and Christine Namuddu gave two sterling presentations about preliminary thoughts on their research directions. Ms Mutesi, who will complete a MA in natural sciences, is considering looking at pollutants in Nakivubo water drainage channel and fish at Ggaba landing site and into Lake Victoria, including pollutants in fish and water. From the social sciences angle, Ms Christine Namuddu plans to examine the relationship between the local people and the water governance institutions and identifying potential indicators of change.

After the presentation, Prof Banadda opened the floor to questions. Dr Florence Adongo from the Ministry of Water expressed her interest in being involved in the project and facilitating data for the MA students to conduct their literature review. Similarly, Chris Kanyesigye from NWSC reported that they have done two phases of Lake Victoria Environmental Management Project (LVEMP) research into this area and is happy to share findings to inform the literature review and methodology.

Other participants including Prof Vanessa Speight, Dr Sally Weston (Sheffield) and Dr Ana Porroche-Escudero (Lancaster Environment Centre) agreed that the research projects look exciting and proposed ways to facilitate methodological and contextual dialogue between the two students so their work complement and strength each other.

The Ugandan node is in the process of revisiting its approach to engaging a wide range of stakeholders including local residents, civil society, non-governmental organisations and private business and

Although the agenda was busy and the meeting was well attended, the chair managed to create an engaging and dynamic atmosphere and kept the meeting running to time!

Agriculture & Environment

CAES Freshers Trained on ODEL Method of Teaching and Learning

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Some of the Freshers from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) listen keenly to proceedings during the training by IODeL on MUELE and other learning platforms on 24th February 2021, SFTNB Conference Hall, Makerere University.

Officials from the Makerere University Institute of Open, Distance and e-Learning (IODeL) have allayed students fears over the costs of internet connectivity as the university adopts blended learning amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic.

While introducing first year students from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) to the ODEL based method of teaching and learning, Dr. Samuel Siminyu told freshers that they will be able to access the Makerere University e-learning Environment (MUELE)  and  other learning platforms at Zero rate.

On 24th February 2021, over 500 first year students from the CAES converged at the Conference Hall in the School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bio engineering for training on the theory and demonstration of what technologies they will use to help them learn.

The training of freshers follows the strategy that government has adopted of staggering whereby students are on campus for short periods and in this particular semester for one month, and out  working remotely for the rest of the two months.

Dr. Siminyu said because of the adoption of blended learning which is a mix of the traditional face-to-face and online learning, the university is migrating from what was familiar to the unfamiliar territory by beginning with freshers’ introduction to this type of learning.

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Agriculture & Environment

Wageningen Online Courses with Scholarship

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Secondary School Students tour one of the exhibition stalls during the Agricultural Day and Exhibition on 25th September 2019, Freedom Square, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda

Apply for a scholarship for one of these online courses before 16 March 2021. After this deadline you can still register for the course when you have other sources of financing until an average of 6 weeks before the start of the course.

List of Courses

  • Food Security in a Changing Climate 2021
  • Farmer Agency for Rural Economies 2021
  • Feeding Cities: Improving Food Systems in Urban Areas 2021
  • Lost Harvest and Wasted Food 2021
  • Plant Genetic Resources and Resilient Seed Systems for Sustainable Food Security 2021
  • Local Economic Development: towards Local Agribusiness Cluster Development 2021
  • Facilitating Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships to Foster Sustainable and Inclusive Food Systems 2021
  • Youth Entrepreneurship in Agriculture and Changing Food Systems 2021
  • Engage Young People Towards Climate and Social Resilience 2021 [French]
  • Global One Health: towards Human, Animal and Plant Health 2021
  • Responsible Aquaculture Development 2021

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Agriculture & Environment

Highlights of 16 Years of Soybean Research at Makerere University

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Part of the Research Team L-R: Prof. Phinehas Tukamuhabwa-Soybean Breeder, Paul Kabayi-Senior Technician, Tonny Obua-Soybean Breeder, Mercy Namara-Training Coordinator, George Yiga-Technician

Sixteen years of soybean research at Makerere University have led to a rapid increase in the number of industries engaged in processing soybean in Uganda and neighbouring countries.

This report provides highlights of the contribution of rust-resistant soybean varieties to the agricultural sector in Uganda. It contains forward-looking research results based on current research findings and forecasts made by the Centre for Soybean Research and Development from 2002 to 2018.

Soybean was first introduced in Uganda way back in 1908. Its production was emphasized to combat malnutrition and to provide soldiers with highly nutritious food during the Second World War. Like most new crops, soybean was not readily accepted by the local people based on claims that it depleted soil fertility, could not be cooked like commonly known legumes, had beany flavor and lacked a readily available market.

The soybean crop was also not given consistent recognition by the National Agricultural Research System (NARS) and suffered decline in production due to a major out break of soybean rust disease in 1996.

Makerere University in collaboration with the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) and Vegetable Oil Development Project (VODP) of the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) undertook research to control soybean rust disease and to promote and disseminate soybean seed of locally developed superior varieties.

Through efforts of the Centre for Soybean Improvement and Development (MAKCSID), the soybean rust pandemic was brought under control, through breeding and dissemination of superior varieties to the farming communities. Currently over 93% of these varieties are grown across the country.

These efforts were spearheaded by Prof. Phinehas Tukamuhabwa from the Department of Agricultural Production.

Please see Downloads for the detailed report.

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